The U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued a warning on December 20, 2018, against the use of “teething jewelry” that is marketed to parents as relieving an infant’s teething pain.
The new FDA warning was issued to alert parents about the risks of teething jewelry after an 18-month old toddler died after strangling on his amber teething necklace during a nap.
The FDA said it had also received a report about a 7-month-old baby who choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet and was taken to the hospital.
“We know that teething necklaces and jewelry products have become increasingly popular among parents and caregivers who want to provide relief for children’s teething pain and sensory stimulation for children with special needs. We’re concerned about the risks we’ve observed with these products and want parents to be aware that teething jewelry puts children, including those with special needs, at risk of serious injury and death,”said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
Dangerous Teething Jewelry
This FDA warning includes teething jewelry such as teething necklaces, teething bracelets, and other teething jewelry that is worn by either an adult or child.
It includes items marketed as teething jewelry for dads and teething necklaces for moms.
The warning covers teething jewelry beads made from various materials including amber, wood, marble, or silicone.
These teething jewelry products are not the same as traditional teething rings or teethers. These are still considered safe. Traditional teething rings are made of hard plastic or rubber and are not designed to be worn by adults or children.
Is Teething Jewelry Safe?
According to the FDA, teething jewelry, including necklaces and bracelets, are not safe and may cause serious injuries to infants and children. The risks of using teething jewelry include choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth, and infection.
The FDA also advises against using teething creams, benzocaine gels, sprays, ointments, and lozenges for mouth and gum pain. These anesthetics can cause a life-threatening condition in small children called methemoglobinemia, in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is reduced.
Are Teething Rings Still Safe?
Traditional teething rings or teethers not meant to be worn as jewelry are still considered safe.
This FDA warning is about newer teething jewelry products that are intended to be worn by infants or adults and may be made with amber, wood, silicone or other materials.
Teething rings made from firm rubber are still recommended to help soothe teething pain.
Talk to your doctor about alternative ways you can reduce teething pain such as:
Gently rubbing or massaging the gums with a clean finger
Giving the teething child a teething ring made of firm rubber
Make sure the teething ring is not frozen. If the object is too hard, it can hurt the child’s gums.
Parents and caregivers should supervise the child during use.
We hope that you will be aware of the risks of using teething jewelry and warn others about this new warning issued by the FDA. There are teething rings that are safe for infants. Please do not use these newly popular teething necklaces and amber teething beads.
FDA: Don’t use teething jewelry to relieve pain – American Dental Association
FDA warns about teething jewelry after 18-month-old dies – CBS News
FDA Warns Against Use of Teething Necklaces, Bracelets, and Other Jewelry Marketed for Relieving Teething Pain or Providing Sensory Stimulation: FDA Safety Communication – Food & Drug Administration
Baby Teething Pain – American Pediatric Association
Dental health is important at every time of the year, all through your life. For kids, it’s important that we establish good dental habits.
During the holiday season though, your kid’s dental health will be put to the test. Snack trays, sweets, pastries and sugary temptations will be everywhere. Well-meaning grownups and grandparents will be more than happy to fill them up with treats.
We want to make sure your children stay healthy during the holidays and don’t head into their next appointment with new cavities.
Healthy Habits to keep your kids smiling through the holidays and into the new year.
The holiday season is always a busy time, especially for families. With kids out of school, a steady stream of festivities and a new year to plan for, the rhythm of everyday life gets put on hold. And sometimes that means good oral health routines and habits go out the window too.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) wants to remind parents and caregivers that the holiday break is a great time to help your kids establish and maintain healthy dental habits. This includes good brushing, flossing and eating habits that are essential for healthy teeth.
The AAPDS recommends that a child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist should be by the AGE OF ONE or when the FIRST TOOTH APPEARS. Regular check-ups should occur every SIX MONTHS.
Parents should help their children brush their teeth TWICE DAILY – after breakfast and before bedtime are ideal. It’s recommended that parents/caregivers supervise the brushing for school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age.
The BEST TOOTHBRUSHES for children have soft, round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. The handle should be proportionate to the size of the child’s hand.
Parents can begin FLOSSING for their children when two teeth are touching. Children can begin flossing on their own around age 7.
Look for FLOURIDE TOOTHPASTE with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
Sugary candy, food, and drinks are part of the holidays. With this, the risk of cavities and poor dental health also increases. Parents should try to moderate sugar intake, and WATCH OUT FOR CARBONATED DRINKS, which actually erode teeth more than sweetened drinks.
Keep an eye on on snacking – ideally, children should have NO MORE THAN THREE SNACK TIMES a day.
COOKED STARCHES CAN LEAD TO CAVITIES just as sugars can. In fact, cooked starches such as bread, crackers, pasta, pretzels and potato chips frequently take longer to clear the mouth than sugars.
LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE by checking labels and buying sugar-free varieties of food options, if available.
CHEESES such as aged cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella and Monterey Jack are great as a snack or to eat after a meal because they clear the mouth of food and neutralize the acids that attack teeth.
This story originally appeared on The Mouth Monsters
We hope that you will take these recommendations into consideration for your own children during the holiday season. We want to help parents establish good dental health habits for children so they get a good foundation for health as adults.